Thursday, April 12, 2007

"We Lied"

The Scotsman reports that tribesmen in South Waziristan have killed 300 foreign, al-Qaeda-linked militants they had previously sheltered in early March after the foreigners tried to kill a tribal leader.

"The people in South Waziristan have now risen against the foreigners. They have killed about 300 of them," Mr Musharraf told a military conference on counter-terrorism. "And they get support from the Pakistan army, they asked for support," Mr Musharraf said, in a first public admission that troops were involved.

The incident recalls the sudden shift in attitudes the British Army in Kabul experienced in 1841. One day it was all picnics, gallantry and ice-skating. Then the British defaulted on their goodwill payments. In short order they were fighting for their lives.

By early in 1841, the expense of keeping the Army in Kabul, and the huge monetary subsidies being paid to local chieftains got to be too much, and cost cutting measures were instituted. Macnaghten was told by Calcutta to cut costs, so the first thing he did was halve the bribes being paid to chieftains to keep their tribes from attacking. The reaction was immediate. Some Ghilzai tribes "guarding" the Khurd-Kabul pass, to the east, promptly ransacked and destroyed several caravans heading towards Kabul with food and supplies. General Sale and his column, who were returning to India, had to fight their way through, and ended occupying the fort at Jalalabad, about 70 miles east of Kabul on the road to the Khyber Pass.

Kabul's military situation worsened further that autumn, if that is possible ... On the morning of November 2 1841, Alexander Burnes, his brother, and three other aides, along with their sepoy escort came under attack in downtown Kabul. Burnes had resisted the suggestions of his trusted Mohan Lal to evacuate the city and head for the relative safety of the cantonment. Convinced of his own infallibility and sure of the Afghan's friendship, Burnes watched his brother and the three aides fall to rifle fire peppering their residence. Fires had been started. No one really knows what happened next. One story has him being betrayed by an Afghan who showed up and offered to sneak them out of the riot via a shadowy escape route. The Afghan got Burnes out of the house and then shouted "Here is Sikunder ("Alexander") Burnes!!!" - another story has him almost escaping down the alleyway, only to be betrayed by his own bravado. After nearly slipping away, he turned to yell like a schoolboy at the Afghans burning and looting his house, and was recognized.

Only one man rode in under his own power back to Jalalabad.

The last, Doctor William Brydon, a surgeon in the Bengal Army, his head and hands cut from sabre slashes, and shot three times, rode his faithful pony as fast as it would carry him. At one point, he actually threw the hilt of his broken sword at a pursuer, the useless weapon grazing the Afghan's head and causing him to turn and wheel away. Exhausted and wounded, the pony stumbled on. Late in the day on the 13th of January, a sharp eyed sentry at the fort in Jalalabad spied a lone horse and rider emerging from the rocky valley above the fort. That solitary rider was the messenger of death. With the exception of two or three Indian sepoys, the prisoners and senior officers Elphinstone, Shelton, Pottinger, and Eyre, along with Lady Sale and a few other women and children, he was the only survivor of the over 16,000 souls who had left Kabul barely a week earlier.


Blogger Cedarford said...

From the same article, this struck me:

The Afghan women were very attractive, and at that time, were allowed a great deal of freedom.Many Afghan men preferred the company of their own sex. It's hard to believe that the Durrani in 1840 were so far ahead of the Taliban in 2001. Women walked about in public unveiled and unescorted, as they pleased. A great number of love affairs sprang up between local women and the handsome British military men. Alexander Burnes was one of the more prominent feringhees linked with several La Femme Afghani. The male populace of Kabul was not pleased.

It brings home that the cancer of Wahabbism that came once an ignorable illiterate Saudi tribe found they had oil under the sand has transformed the Muslim world.

It is something I noticed in books from the 1930s to the 1980s of photos from Muslim countries. Tons of women walking about in the modern styles of those times. Veils
on some older women, some with just light hats or scarfs, but what appear to be a majority of women uncovered in the cities.

Photos from Morocco, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan. From Lebanon & Syria. The Palestinian part of the Israeli population. No common use of covering. Egyptian beaches in the 1950s with woman in one-piece bathing suits..

Nowadays, the veil&burqua&chador is everywhere. Even the Palestinians of Israel have taken to wearing "proper Arab attire". The beaches of Egypt? One shudders...

The point being radical Islam is not some old force waning away as the vast, moderate Islamic population gathers strength but is still silent. Just needing a little good old USA democracy and free markets to get their noble purple-fingered confidence to assert their freedom and end old "backwards Islam".


The truth is radical Islam is ascendent, and spreading with each new mosque, madrassah, and media organ the Saudis and Iranian mullahs build. Radical Islam is now in charge. And the people are the ones that chose it and did not listen to Americans or Jews or Soviet communists or Eurocrats telling them to "let the vast moderate Muslim majority" prevail. The people seem to have chosen at a grassroots level, and NOT for our way of life.

The choice appears to be widespread rejection of the progressive, Muslim-lite societies that existed in 1840 Afghanistan or 1975 Iraq or 1960 Egypt.

Not very good news for Bush, the neocons and others who think America can "improve Muslim society". Just another 300 billion or so in Iraq, just another 1500 American deaths....and they will be a happy secular state trading with Israel! No, not likely...

4/13/2007 12:34:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Long before the 'neocons' ever thought of turning Muslims into good democrats the West was busy turning Muslims into good Communists, and in one instance at least, into good Nazis.

Lawrence Wright describes how much of modern Islamic radicalism was born in the secret police cells of Gamal Abdel Nasser's Egypt. The pre-war Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was an active ally of Nazi Germany; he received training and money from the SS and contributed not a few men to the cause of the Third Reich.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan waxes poetic on the subject of Islamic Socialism. Why not so long ago, anybody who was anybody in the Middle East was a Marxist. Yes, even Yasser Arafat claimed to be one at some point. Here's Bhutto warming to the topic:

"My dear friends, Islam is not in danger. The capitalists and their stooges are in danger. ... The system of Islamic equality prevails in many other Islamic countries. Islamic equality has been established in Algeria. The Algerians are very good Muslims and fought against the French under the banner of Islam. They have introduced Islamic socialism in their country. Similarly, in Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Iraq and Syria, Islamic Socialism has been establish­ed. The people there are Muslims, but they have socialism."

Long before the neocons corrupted Muslim purity with democracy the Left had corrupted them already, even half convinced them that it was Islamic to be a Commie. As to "purple fingered votes", the Left was there was miles ahead of neocons, though not quite in the same spirit. Bhutto again:

"The country cannot be built by securing votes only. It needs a fundamental change and we will be with you in the struggle for that change. The final decision lies with you. I give you my word as a Muslim that if you stand united, nobody can defeat you."

Word of an officer and gentleman, word of a socialist, word of a Muslim, eh Zulfikar? I'm afraid the neocons didn't corrupt Islam. Kilroy was already there.

4/13/2007 01:15:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wretchard -

I agree Bush and the neocons are not the 1st to try to "reform Muslim society". But based on the Iraq and Afghanistan results they and the USA-style "freedom and democracy" seem to be enjoying even less success than the communists and fascists did of "moderating" the Islamists. At least communist states existed for many years and did reasonably well before the Islamists wiped them out. Kemal Attaturk, the Syrian Ba'ath, and Iraqi Ba'ath forged the most sucessful modernizing, and secular-run Islamic states in recent times. Eventually, along with monarchy schemes, they failed and were replaced with dictatorial corrupt strongmen or Islamists..

Alas, democracy and freedom can only exist where most people buy into the system and to majority rule. And can only exist where security from a strong government is already established.

For that reason, what Bush and the neocons tried, instead of bettering communism and fascism's track record in Islamic countries - failed. Failed more miserably and spectacularly than political systems that believe order and security are preconditions for freedom and liberties to exist at all.

4/13/2007 01:54:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

You need to check your facts....Capt Harry Flashman also survived the uprising.

4/13/2007 04:45:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"Islamic" democracy and capitalism are working just fine in Kurdistan, and would have worked just fine in "Baathist" Iraq if it wasn't for the American need to "secure the oil fields" in Shiia dominated Southern Iraq. The minute the Americans cut a deal with the Shiia, they in fact cut their own hands. It was as stupid as stupid can be.

4/13/2007 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...


In the name of "stability", liberalism was effectively crushed in the Middle East, whether it was thru Soviet or American or Soviet and American policies is debateble.

I used to listen to the shortwave in the Middle East in 1980...there was no shortage of goups railing against "Soviet American Capitalist Imperialism". Might ond strangeto you or I, but to the people living under Soviet or American puppet Governments it made perfect sense.

Those puppets Governments were supported by both sides in the name of "Stability". The only dissent that survived was via the Mosque.

The dictators either supported the Mosque, or in th case of the Shah of Iran, were crushed by the Mosque.

If we look a very recent history, Moqtaada's latest protest was wrapped in Iraqi nationalism no religious rhetoric.

Why would a "fire-brand cleric" appeal to nationalism??

IMHO A "fire-brand cleric" is appealing to nationalism because the power of the Mosque is declining as other avenues of dissent have openned up.

AlQueda, Muslim Brotherhood et al were very good at "channeling anger" precisely because the dictators allowed no other form of dissent.

Democracies are stable because the various angers of the population are channeled in so many different directions and there is always at least one congressman or senator who will loudly and publicly support your cause.

Want to control the size of anti-war protests?...have Ted Kennedy give a bellicose speach condemning the administration...since Ted is railing againt the adminisration...the anti-war crowd doesn't need to get off the couch.

Everybody is happy...the voice of the Anti-war crowd is being heard and there aren't any riots in the streets.

4/13/2007 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

Oil has been both the biggest boon and biggest bane for the Middle East. I wonder how our nation would have evolved culturally and politicaly if it was founded on the same oil system as the Middle East?

The place to begin achieving a modern state in Iraq is diversifying and decentralizing the economy, ie, move away from a oil economy, so that the driving force of Iraqi society are a broad range of individual entrepeneurs who are compelled to work interdependently with others and broaden the national economy, strengthen rule of law, and reach out to work on multiple levels in the regional and global economies.

Dunno if we can do much to make that kind of radical transformation to the Iraqi economy. Dunno how this can be achieved as long as the world, not just our country, relies on and pays for oil from the Middle East. I guess if the whole world moved to nuclear power, that might solve the problem.

4/13/2007 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Reliapundit said...


BBC: "Pakistan army joins tribal fight

Militant in South Waziristan Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has admitted publicly for the first time that the army has helped tribal fighters battling foreign militants."





This news is more proof we were right.


4/13/2007 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Reliapundit said...


4/13/2007 03:42:00 PM  

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